Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Children At Playgrounds

A news story today caught my eye. In "Fossilized playgrounds: is active play the next dinosaur?", the article says that Canadian children are playing less at playgrounds:
Play comes in many forms, but it is generally freely chosen, spontaneous, self-directed and fun. The 2012 Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth reports that Canadian children and youth are not playing enough; assigning an "F" grade for Active Play and Leisure. Forty-six per cent of Canadian kids are getting a mere three hours or less of active play per week, including weekends.1 Additionally, kids spend 63 per cent of their free time after school and on weekends being sedentary.2 This is alarming news, as active play is a promising, accessible and cost-effective solution to help Canadian children and youth meet the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines. 
My wife and I regularly bring our two boys, aged four and ten, to the playground, sometimes with resistance from the older boy. The attraction of the electronic devices is strong, leading to a sedentary life. This might explain the increasing rates of obesity in Canada and the United States.This might also explain why during the weekday evenings, after supper, playgrounds are empty and not full of kids playing. It's a shame, since many of the playgrounds are beautifully constructed, as are the parks. The weekends are different, however; on a nice sunny day, it's full of kids running around and playing spontaneously. Read the full article at [CanadaWireService]

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